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So here we go!

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

For anyone reading this, thank you and welcome! It really is ridiculously exciting to be doing this.


I've loved theatre for as long as I can remember. Like many folk from the UK, I think, my first memory of theatre is pantomime. I can't remember exactly which one it was, but I was mesmerised by the stage and the lights and the narrative unfolding in front of me as if by magic. And when the witch climbed out of the teapot! - well that just sealed it, I was hooked.


I dabbled in productions at school since one of my best friend's dads was the drama teacher, but I never really got heavily involved.


In my teens, my mum moved to London and we went to a lot of West End shows together, soaking in the spectacle. I still love a good musical and we still go a couple of times a year if we can (this year has of course been problematic to say the least).


At uni, I kept my hand in taking part in the annual German play for 3 years in a row, even assistant directing it one year. The whole thing was kind of niche - plays entirely in German performed in a small city by the sea on the north-east coast of Fife. But they were incredibly fun and, as so often happens, the people made them magical.


Theatre then took a back seat for a few years as I gathered myself together after uni and a period of depression that blind-sided me and essentially took me out of the world for a while. I am eternally grateful for the amazing love and support of my friends and family both during that difficult time and always. As for many people, I think, depression didn't magically disappear for me, but I am able to manage it nowadays. If this feels like a little aside, it kind of is, but I am adding it here because I still think it is something that is not talked about enough and the stigma that comes with that can be really detrimental to folk living with it.


I moved to Cambridge about 10 years ago and, after taking another couple of years to find my feet, I was looking for something to keep me out of trouble outside of work. I discovered Cambridge Storytellers, a gorgeous bunch of people keeping the tradition of oral storytelling alive. Through them, I gradually got my performing legs again, telling tales new and old. A workshop with them on dealing with what happens when you forget stuff telling tales - improvise - in turn opened me up to the flourishing improv scene in Cambridge and the amazing Clare Kerrison - tutor, mentor and all round fantastic person.


Taking all the improv classes I possibly could as soon as I could, when I ran out, I got involved in various troupes performing all manner of styles of improv - short-form, musical, narrative. There are too many folk in the Cambridge improv community to thank here for all the awesome times we had together practising and performing, but suffice it to say, the thank you is massive. THANK YOU!


Today I primarily improvise with Carla Keen, Erica Dupuy and Mark Whitehouse as The Ministry of Unplanned Occurrences creating character-centred, moment-specific theatre in myriad beautiful worlds. It is a pleasure and a privilege which is hard to express in words. They are all amazing theatre practitioners with an eye for humour, storytelling, compassion, nuance and collaboration which is just a gift. Check out the link for more on them.


Around the same time as I was discovering improv, I got involved in WRiTEON, doing little bits of acting and then also directing with them until I eventually got itchy to do some writing of my own. I submitted two short pieces to their First Stage season of new writing performed script in hand, which to my great delight were accepted and I haven't really stopped writing since (details of which you can find in the 'Projects' section of this website should you have a mind to).


And that kind of brings us round to what I was saying I was so excited about at the beginning. This! This website! Putting it together has reminded me of all the amazing things I have been fortunate enough to have been involved with over the years and all the wonderful people along the way.


I hope to be able to continue to produce great theatre, in whatever format, and it would be lovely to have you along for the ride!


Thank you for reading,


Wishing you much joy,


James

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